The starting gun has been fired on the Conservative leadership contest - and all eyes in Norfolk are on whether Elizabeth Truss will enter the race to succeed Boris Johnson.

The South West Norfolk MP and foreign secretary has yet to declare whether she will stand as a candidate in the forthcoming contest.

But the longest-serving cabinet member has made little secret of her leadership ambitions in the past.

While she ruled herself out of the 2019 race, she has appeared in photo opportunities in which she appeared to be channelling late prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

If Ms Truss were to become prime minister, she would be the first politician representing a Norfolk constituency to hold the role since Robert Walpole in the 1700s.

Ms Truss was not among the 50-plus ministers and aides whose resignations triggered the departure of Mr Johnson.

On an official trip to Indonesia, she made no public comment on the chaos in Whitehall until after Mr Johnson announced his resignation.

She then tweeted: "The PM has made the right decision.

"The government under Boris's leadership had many achievements - delivering Brexit, vaccines and backing Ukraine.

"We need calmness and unity now and to keep governing while a new leader is found."

Mr Johnson will remain as prime minister until a successor is in place - expected to be by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October.

The exact timetable for the leadership race is agreed by the 1922 Committee and Tory Party HQ, with Conservative MPs and party members playing a decisive role in electing the next leader.

Tory MPs will whittle down the candidates to a final two through a balloting process, with party members then voting on who they would prefer.

In the meantime, Mr Johnson will remain as a caretaker prime minister - which MPs such as Mid Norfolk's George Freeman are unhappy about.

While Ms Truss has remained silent on whether she will run, some Tories have already made their ambitions clear.

Attorney general Suella Braverman and former minister Steve Baker have said they could run.

But bookmakers have listed Ms Truss among the favourites.

She is tipped alongside defence secretary Ben Wallace, former chancellor Rishi Sunak, international trade minister Penny Mordaunt, former health secretary Sajid Javid and foreign affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat.

Ms Truss has been an MP since 2010, when she succeeded Christopher Fraser.

She had to emerge from a bitter fight among her own party members, when members of the South West Norfolk Conservative Association realised she had had an affair with the Tory MP Mark Field.

However, she survived a de-selection attempt and won the seat with a majority of 13,140. By 2019, she had almost doubled it to 26,195.

She has held a string of roles since then, including education minister, environment secretary, justice secretary, chief secretary to the Treasury, international trade secretary and foreign secretary.

Ian Sherwood, political agent for the South West and North West Conservative associations, has been Ms Truss' agent since she first won South West Norfolk in 2010.

He said: "I have had the privilege of over 20 years, to be the agent to a number of MPs and she is one of the most pleasant and easy people to work with.

"She is a real listener and can take information, sift it and come back with a really considered response. That's an important skill to have as an MP.

"She is good at making decisions and you need that kind of clarity, but I'd say she also has a steely determination and a real resilience."

Mr Sherwood said it was not a coincidence that a series of prime ministers - David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson - had entrusted her with cabinet roles.

He said: "Liz loves to get things done. She's been recognised by all those leaders for the skills she has.

"When a prime minister has given her a job it is because they know she would get whatever it was done and would quickly be on top of whatever brief she was given."